John McCain is taking the gloves off about Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani's good friend, business partner and his police commissioner in 2000 and 2001.
"I don't know Mr. Kerik. I do know that I went to Baghdad shortly after the initial victory and met in Baghdad with (Ambassador Paul) Bremer and (Lt. Gen. Ricardo) Sanchez. And Kerik was there. Kerik was supposed to be there to help train the police force. He stayed two months and one day left, just up and left," McCain told reporters traveling on his campaign bus.
"That's why I never would've supported him to be the head of homeland security because of his irresponsible act when he was over in Baghdad to try and help train the police. One of the reasons why we had so much trouble with the initial training of the police was because he came, didn't do anything and then went out to the airport and left."
Ouch! The Giuliani campaign has to be gnashing their teeth over this one. After all, Giuliani's message is entirely built upon his self-avowed skill as a leader and effective manager who can get things done. As it now turns out, his most important appointment during his years as mayor turns out to be not only (allegedly) a crook but incompetent at the very job that Giuliani hired him for in New York City.
Former head of the Department of Homeland Insecurity Tom Ridge, who is campaigning with McCain, chimed in about Giuliani's recommendation to the Bush administration that Kerik be nominated for Ridge's position:
"It was clear the mayor and I had a different view what the department does and the kind of leadership it needed," Ridge told reporters. "His judgment would've been different than mine."
He said the situation reflected a fundamental misunderstanding by Giuliani of how the U.S. government works.
"We're not talking about some urban city patronage job," Ridge told The Associated Press. "That's not what a Cabinet secretary's about."
Double ouch! Ridge's "patronage" broadside not only emphasizes Giuliani's long-running close relationship with Kerik who has been indicted for conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and lying to the IRS, but it calls into question his entire term as mayor of New York City. Could Bernie Kerik be just the tip of the "Titanic" iceberg of incompetence that will sink Giuliani's campaign and end his quest for the presidency?
Finally, McCain goes for the jugular by exposing Giuliani's most glaring deficiencies:
"It's a fundamental lack of experience. ... I mean it's great to have led a major city. I mean, his post-crisis handling was fine. But that certainly doesn't mean you're qualified to lead."
Pow! Right in the kisser! McCain says what many of us (including I am sure many of you on the right) have been thinking for the past year. What exactly qualifies Giuliani to be president other than the fact that he was mayor of New York City when a group of thugs armed with boxcutters flew two planes into the World Trade Center? Does Giuliani have any political experience at the federal level? That would be no. How about at the state level? That would be no.
So he was mayor of America's largest city, but how effective was he in that job? Did he ensure that New York's firefighters had the proper communications equipment for dealing with an event like the 9/11 attacks (and given the recent experience of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing)? That would be no. Did Giuliani make a wise decision in placing his Office of Emergency Management's command center at 7 World Trade Center? That would be no. Did Giuliani demonstrate effective management skills by appointing Bernard Kerik as his police commissioner and then recommending him to be the head of the Department of Homeland Security? That would be no.
The emperor wears no clothes and the Republican Party should be wising up to the fact pretty soon I would think.
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